Senator’s diagnosis sparks fear of viral outbreak
A combined Sandiganbayan-Department of Health team has been quietly gathering hazmat gear and protective clothing, to head off a looming contagion that experts warned could be endemic to the Philippines.
Hurried emergency preparations were triggered when Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, jailed on charges of plunder, was diagnosed with the very same illness that afflicts former president Gloria Arroyo, who is under hospital arrest.
Doctors said that Senator Estrada also has mild cervical spondylosis, or neck arthritis, a degenerative spinal disorder “more commonly known as a pain in the neck” explained a source from the special team. “The ailment. That is.”
But while Estrada was officially diagnosed with cervical spondylosis, frantic special team members strongly suspect the senator instead has “the very infectious” memetic spondylosis or me-2. Hence, the emergency. The team refused to comment any further on the relatively unknown disease.
But Outtakes tracked down an old friend in the medical field who was able to shed light on this developing epidemic. We met with Dr. Phil Doras at the Quik Snack Café on Carvajal Street in Binondo.
“Well, there’s HIV and hep-B, and now we have me-2, memetic spondylosis, a new, virulent strain of the better known cervical spondylosis,” said Dr. Phil, slurping his coffee.
“It’s indeed highly contagious. But the Arroyo-to-Estrada contamination is the first known human-to-human transmission of me-2.”
He said cervical spondylosis, a degenerative physical disorder, recently mutated into an irresistible idea, or meme, like those that get a lot of hits on the Internet.
“The me-2 meme burrows into the medulla oblongata of susceptible degenerates and sends devious neural signals to their synapses, triggering imitative behavior,” he explained ominously.
By the way, Dr. Phil knows his stuff because he’s not only a doctor of medicine he’s also a doctor of political science. He gainfully combined his two fields into a single practice, polimedicine, when politicians badly damaged by sex or financial scandals began seeking medical help by going to rehab. So he can diagnose politico-medical problems in one go.
“In immediate danger of transmission are government officials and accomplices accused of graft and corruption or plunder,” Dr. Phil explained, “and the at-risk population could grow exponentially as the PDAF investigations progress. But innocent bystanders need not apply.”
He is extremely worried that there seems to be no surefire cure. “The available treatment for memetic spondylosis is actually the cause of its spread,” he warned.
The current treatment includes mobility by wheelchair, which means you can sit pretty la-la-la while being wheeled around by an attendant. The patient is also confined in an air-conditioned hospital instead of a hot, cockroachy regular jail. A lucky patient may also be able to get travel clearance from the Supreme Court for non-extraditable therapy abroad.
“So, what’s not to like? That’s why me-2 could get around very quickly.”
Even quarantining the at-risk cohort–Senators Enrile and Revilla, Gigi Reyes, the Napoleses and a growing list of suspected congressmen and government functionaries—“won’t prevent them from contracting any bright ideas,” he added.
And very soon the government will have to set up an entire hospital just for all the indictees who will be catching me-2. “Like a Philippine Neck Center, or something.”
And what symptoms should authorities look out for to see if an accused is coming down with me-2?
“Well, the patient may exhibit a disturbingly shameless lack of originality in choosing a sympathy-inducing illness, accompanied by a severe thickening of the facial epidermis–the scientific term is sottocarious capalmucasia.”
Apparently, there may also be signs of dementia legis, or jinggotism, the senatorial delusion of being someone special who must continue making laws while in jail.
“But a sure sign is revillatory mysteriochondrial depositosis, or multimillion-pesos in assets deposited in 81 bank accounts that can’t be explained simply by the claim of ‘I earned it.’”
Dr. Phil cited just one effective treatment, involving a process he called retrocantative therapy. “The retrocantative protocol immunizes an accomplice and turns him or her into a vocally talented state witness with a very good memory. Unfortunately, it only works for non-masterminds,” he clarified.
But there’s no cure-all, no silver bullet that can stop memetic spondylosis. So are we doomed to witnessing the unchecked spread of the me-2 contagion among those who are on the wrong end of tuwid na daan?
“Hmm, there’s a kind of traditional medicine preferred by the Chinese government in dealing with corruption cases. It’s called bai bai. Involves a firing squad.”
That magic bullet’s side effects are a bit harsh, he agreed. Besides, applying it would require a drastic change in our political system.
Unfortunately, Dr. Phil couldn’t talk longer for the benefit of INQUIRER.net readers, because his angry assistants suddenly came to haul him back to his hospital ward in Mandaluyong.
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